By Britt Bickel

With the holiday season now in swing, it’s the time of the year to give back to the community and help make a difference in the lives of those in need.

One such organization that’s always out for the holiday season raising funds and awareness is the Salvation Army, and this weekend is the kick-off of their annual Kettle collection. K-EARTH 101’s own Gary Bryan will appear at the Salvation Army Kettle Kick-Off event this Monday, November 25th at The Original Farmer’s Market located at 6333 W. 3rd St. from 4-6 p.m.

Joining him in studio is a young man, LaRon, who has greatly benefited from a Salvation Army youth center in his community, which gets support from those kettle donations collected each year.

LaRon tells Gary that he was raised in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, but thank to the Siemon Family Youth and Community Center run by Salvation Army, he kept off the streets and is now getting his graduate degree.

“Growing up, we were surrounded by drugs, gangs and violence. You had to be a tough kid to survive the streets of L.A. as we called it,” said LaRon.

LaRon said the people at the youth center embraced him like family and gave him the support he needed to further his education and pursue his love of basketball. He’s now currently working on his graduate degree in Arts and Counseling so he can go back and help other at risk youth to better their lives.

“You’re helping people like myself who are without even food and everyday necessities. It just helps kids in need,” said LaRon on the kettle collections.

Without those donations to Salvation Army to fund programs like this, LaRon isn’t sure where he would be today without its influence.

“Everyday when I get up, I’m living with gratitude and appreciation,” he said.

So join Gary Bryan this Monday, Nov. 25th at the Salvation Army’s Kettle Kick-off and give back this holiday season. For more information on the event, click here.

Listen to Gary’s complete interview with LaRon in the clip below.


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